Andy has been involved in the agricultural and horticultural industries since he was 17 years old, working for several cropping farmers and contractors gaining experience on a variety of equipment from carrot top lifters to sweetcorn harvesters, including fixing and maintaining these. He set up his own contracting business.
Agricultural Equipment Hire Ltd (AEH) in 2008 and is the majority shareholder of PDS Ltd.
Andy “sees a need and sorts it” and with a mechanical aptitude, he invented a number of machines and machinery adaptations before he developed Andweeder. In 2013, Andy was selected as one of 12 inventors at the New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays to participate in the Innovation Den. He is a former vice president of Hawke’s Bay Vegetable Growers’ Association and former Hawke’s Bay Processed Vegetables Group growers’ representative on Horticulture New Zealand.
A clever innovation that makes the tedious job of weeding between crops effortless has had year of award successes.
The Andweeder, developed by Plant detection Systems limited, has caught the attention of a variety of farmers who require a method less labour –intensive than hand weeding.
Inventor Andy, said the product started as a suggestion from a client who was tired of having his crops hand – weeded.
The Andweeder just took 18 months to develop into a fully marketable product. “It started as a experimental product with 6mm wire and spring, and developed from there very quickly,” he said. The Andweeder was a “Grassroots” category finalist at Fieldays 2013 and needed more work, but the many prototypes paid off when Plant Detection Systems Ltd. Was awarded with both the Ravensdown Innovation Award at the National Horticultural Field Day and the Launch New Zealand Innovation Award at Fieldays earlier this year.
“This product brings a step change to the industry, converting an intensive manual process. In doing so, they’ve solved a long standing problem that has bamboozled Hitech machine vision technology, “the Fieldays judges said.
The Andweeder is a mechanical, non-chemical inter – plant weeder for precision planted crops. It works on plant size. Requiring only one tractor driver, the Andweeder is designed to work with a 60hp
(Minimum) tractor when operating a toolbar of three units. One unit can weed an impressive three plants per second, or one hectare an hour- what one worker can hand – hoe in one day